Skip to main content

ERTC Refunds - Taxable?

10 February 2023

Many of our clients that have applied for The Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) ask about the taxability of the refunds received.  

Quick Answer: Yes, the ERTC refund is taxable.

The IRS has taken the position that the income is taxable in the tax year/tax period to which the credit applies. 

The ERTC refunds relate back to 2020 or 2021. These amounts will be received in later years and are to be included as income on the respective prior year return. This process will require amended returns for the entity and any shareholders/partners. This will result in tax due for in the amended tax year.  Since this tax will now be deemed late, the IRS will impose Interest and Penalties.

Good News - sort of... There is a process to apply for a penalty waiver with the IRS, but unfortunately it is a manual one. 

Based on the IRS information, we do not recommend including the ERTC income in a current year. If you include this in the year in which the income is received, you risk the IRS auditing you and charging penalties. The penalties would not be eligible for relief at that time.

If you need any assistance in receiving the ERTC or amending tax returns, please contact our office - 855-922-WeDo (9336)

Authoritative Source:

Notice 2021-49
Timing of Qualified Wages Deduction Disallowance

Section 2301(e) of the CARES Act, as explained in section III.L. of Notice 2021-20, and section 3134(e) of the Code provide the general rule that an employer’s deduction for qualified wages, including qualified health plan expenses, is reduced by the amount of the employee retention credit. The Treasury Department and the IRS have been asked about the timing of the reduction, specifically in the circumstance in which a taxpayer files an adjusted employment tax return to claim the employee retention credit for prior calendar quarters and has already filed a federal income tax return for the tax year in which the credit is claimed on the adjusted return. Under section III.L. of Notice 2021-20, a reduction in the amount of the deduction allowed for qualified wages, including qualified health plan expenses, caused by receipt of the employee retention credit occurs for the tax year in which the qualified wages were paid or incurred. When a taxpayer claims the employee retention credit because of the retroactive amendment of section 2301 of the CARES Act by section 206(c) of the Relief Act (relating to eligibility of PPP borrowers to claim the employee retention credit) or otherwise files an adjusted employment tax return to claim the employee retention credit, the taxpayer should file an amended federal income tax return or administrative adjustment request (AAR), if applicable, for the taxable year in which the qualified wages were paid or incurred to correct any overstated deduction taken with respect to those same wages on the original federal tax return. Section 2301(e) generally provides, in relevant part, that rules similar to the rules of section 280C(a) of the Code shall apply. Section 280C(a) requires tracing to the specific wages generating the applicable credit. See, generally, Treas. Reg. § 1.280C-1. To satisfy this tracing requirement, the taxpayer must file an amended return or AAR, as applicable.

Latest Articles

New - Digital Asset Reporting On The Way

New proposed regulations on digital asset reporting (08-25-23) The IRS has issued 282 pages of p...

Where is My Refund?

After filing your taxes, you may start wondering... Where is my refund? The answer depends on ho...

2023 Tax Calendar

2023 Tax Calendar - Business and Personal February 2023   Februa...